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Leisure H-Z

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 11 months ago
Leisure H-Z - Jonathan
Leisure H-Z is a massively diverse grouping of magazines. I have identified the following 24 magazines which represent every individual category in the Leisure H-Z. Many have dedicated websites which I have listed here.In this report I will review a number of websites profiling their use of web 2.0 type features and look at the implications of expenses, revenue and their impact on the deployment of such features.
Leisure interests: Hi-Fi
Hi-Fi News & Record Preview (http://www.hifinews.com/)
Leisure interests: Holiday & Travel
A Place in the Sun
France – UK Edition (http://www.francemag.com/)
Holiday, The RCI Magazine
Leisure Interests: Home Entertainment
What Video and High Definition TV
Leisure interests: Modelling
Railway Modeller
Leisure interests: Pets – General
Animal Action
Companions – The Magazine for Best Friends of the PDSA
Leisure interests: Photography
Practical Photography (http://www.photographymags.co.uk/)
Leisure interests: Racing & Betting
Racing Post Weekender
Leisure Interests: Railways – Modern
Leisure interests: Railways – Steam
Steam Railway
Leisure interests: Wildlife
BBC Wildlife
Leisure interests: Yachting
RYA Magazine
Magazine and counterpart website reviews


The website for this magazine is very limited in its content. It is made up primarily of reader reviews.  It is made up primarily of reader reviews. The forum is well posted to with over 10,000 posts. The site does however offer subscription to RSS feeds and a link to subscribe to the print version of the magazine.







This website is fairly basic. It is much more geared to promotion of the print copy with options to subscribe and a search function to find a newsagent which sells the magazine. There is a small news section and a link to purchase back copies of tests on equipment.







Francemag.com offers a selection of features available in the print version of the magazine. There are further e features such as blog space, a forum, currency converter, online shop, French property searches, hotel search, holiday search, French regions guide and travel advice.








Railwaymags.com is a basic site and its seeming main purpose is to support the print version. It gives an overview of what’s in the current issue, a useful links section, live chat room, subscription option. It also provides top tips for photographing model railways and a picture gallery. There is also an option to subscribe to a Model Rail RSS.


Overall the design of the site is very basic with a plain design and simple interface. There is little beyond text and basic images.







At first glance, the home page is heavy on advertising. In a column along the left of the page are different functions and features. Top of the list is subscriptions which makes me thing immediately that the website will be of limited functionality assuming a preference that you subscribe to the print version.


There are however overviews available as to what’s in the current edition of the print magazine. There is a forum, gallery and a free download resource. The rest of the content seems very much to be selling to the user with products and services such as holidays and courses, online printing, shop and market place.







This website seems to be the biggest and most comprehensive of all I’ve looked at so far. It has at its core a digital version of the pervious month’s magazine. This is also the first magazine site I’ve seen in this category to use video. Its top story is illustrated through the use of video. There are also a number of blog spaces as well as forum space. There are also many guides for readers including a marine guide and also a link to marine radio.


The site incorporates well a selling dimension. Visitors can post their ads for boats and other sailing equipment. There are also the other usual options such as to subscribe to the print copy and find your nearest newsagent selling the magazine.







Background and justification to conducting further reviews


The online websites of the magazines I have looked at here are very limited in all but a few cases. This is because of the niche markets most of them occupy. It can been seen that those websites which have a content with a wider appeal such as Francemag.com have the financial resource to expand their business and provide much more content as a result.


Yachting Monthly has success by a very different means. Despite the fact that this magazine and website occupy a similar niche market as many other magazines looked at in this research the interest in yachting is perpetuated mainly by the rich and famous. The fact that so much money exchanges hands in the second hand selling of yachts can be attributed to the success of this website/magazine.


A core service offered by the website is an advertising service for selling yachts. The charge for advertising is considerable and as such creates a good income which in turn pays for a higher level of content.  The more content and services offered, the more users and hits you can boast to people who wish to advertise which in turn boosts advertising revenue further.


Considering the limited content of many of the magazine websites I’ve looked at I decided to have a look at web only e-zines in similar areas within the category of Leisure Interests.









Photographyworld.co.uk is very much an online community type website and operates under the premise of the online community for photographers and models. It has limited functionality but includes resources such as photo galleries, reviews of magazines and software, a currently non functional online shop, message boards and RSS feeds.








Focalfix.com is a photography site which is very basic in its design and functionality. The site includes guides to different photography practices for varied levels of ability, digital photo tips, camera reviews, photo galleries and links to other sites.











Petplanet.co.uk is a site which is very product driven with links to many online shops. It is however a resource heavy site which has lots of seeming impartial advice for those interested in pets. Resources and features include reviews and comparisons of pet insurance, breed profiles, articles on pet health, news items on the topic of pets, a forum, e-newsletters via email and much more.







Travelowl.co.uk is mainly focused around user reviews on holidays and travel. The core of this service is added to by other features such as an online travel shop, destination guides, news items, e-newsletter via email, travel brochures and a member’s area. The member’s area acts as a social networking site where users can share reviews, upload holiday photos and videos and create profiles around holiday preferences.











Withnature.co.uk is an e-zine, information resource website and community site focusing of the natural world. The site is comprehensive in the subject area it covers but has limited features though they include links to online shopping, reviews, news section and forums.



Looking at further online-only e-zines and websites has shown a similarity to those websites with print copy counterparts. Features such as video, flash content and audio seem to have passed this category by. This is the case for a couple of reasons.


Cost implications


Development of such features often means contracting in specialists in the field unless you already have an in-house team (very unlikely for such specialist small-scale operations). This cost makes it extremely prohibitive to develop further into web 2.0 features for niche sites whose number of hits are small and in keeping with the market they serve.




It’s difficult to make sweeping statements about the type of audience a wide category such as Leisure Interests serves. The sites I have looked at however cover interests such as electrical equipment, travel, model railways, photography, wildlife and yachting. The limited content and smaller numbers of hits sites like these receive impacts directly on the interface users can and do expect.




Most websites make money from advertising. There are a number of online agencies who bridge the gap between websites and advertisers. Normally advertising revenue will be directly linked to the number of hits a website receives. Another way of calculating revenue for advertisers is in the style of commission in that there is a small income each time a user follows a link to the advertiser’s site.


Many web 2.0 style sites such as wikis are run not for profit and ask for a donation. Often however, donations do not completely cover the cost of running and hosting the site so advertising is needed in conjunction with the request for donations as is seen on www.withnature.co.uk.



Many of the sites I looked at included online shops or links to recommended products. This is a very obvious means to creating extra revenue either by selling products directly or by gaining a similar fee as above if a user purchases something from an associated online shop having followed a link from your site.


The websites that I looked at who have a counterpart print magazine almost never revealed any of their content from current issues on their website. They do use the site however as a vehicle to promote the print copy and many do what they can to get the user to subscribe or provide information so as to make it as easy as possible for users to find the magazine. Considering the smaller numbers and circulations this category gets it is probably quite prudent not to give too much away online. Small scale operations are very reliant on the revenue received through the cover price and if they were to create a situation where readers could obtain content online it would almost certainly result in regular readers reading online for free and a drop in sales.


A feature I feel noticeable absent from all the websites I’ve looked at is an online version of the print magazine which is charged for. Most large daily newspapers and some regular magazines now offer complete e-versions of their publication at a reduced price to the print version online. The e-version can be offered at a reduced rate taking into account the lack of printing and associated costs. This is becoming a very popular way of expanding your market by catching those consumers who don’t see physical copies of publications as good value for money.







All of the websites in this category follow very similar lines and many are still lagging behind their corporate hit-heavy counterparts in terms of utilisation of new web developments. This is the case for a number of reasons previously discussed.


Despite lack of financial resource, the websites I have looked at all use what resources they have to create at the very least a forum or message board. These have become the mainstay of any site to market itself with e-zine or community site properties. The area of niche interest and fandom give rise to the desire for users to not simply consume the content but also to add to it. Forums probably once were the web 2.0 of earlier years giving people the place to create the early ‘online communities’.


Another feature quite commonly distributed is the e-newsletter. Though it may be considered quite antiquated, it probably was the earlier version of the RSS feed. This could be seen as another feature of the ‘on the cheap website’ as an e-newsletter can be made in a number of formats without the need for specialist skills, converted to a pdf and mailed to your subscription distribution list.  


RSS is a technology now widely used across websites that have regularly updated content such as blog spaces or news sites. A number of sites I looked at had options to subscribe to RSS feeds. This is another cheap way to bring extra functionality to the user and enrich their experience of your site. I believe the reason that this feature is not more widely distributed in my area of research is directly linked to the fact that the websites are small enterprises and are not that regularly updated.


Only two sites I looked at use video and in quite different ways. On travelowl.co.uk users could post their own videos for the purpose of sharing experiences and reviews following the social networking model. Yachting monthly takes a different approach enforcing its editorial authority. Its featured top story is illustrated perfectly by its accompanying video footage of the event. This model is very much away from the user-focussed social networking model as used in such sites and follows a more conventional news editorial style as would be seen on sites such as BBC News.






I found the subject area of Leisure Interests H-Z to be slightly restrictive in my task to look at use of new developments around online content. As I have discussed in this research, the subject area and the niche market it occupies does not led itself to the bigger revenues which make use of specialised developments possible. These small scale operations will be manned by small teams who I’m sure don’t have the resource or time to create both a print magazine and have a similar presence online.


I am unsure whether it would be economically viable for businesses in this category to expand further into more of an online presence simply as my case has argued because of their niche limits. Attracting new readers or users is the way forward and for many of the websites I have looked it would be necessary to diversify content or look at offering more general content which would appeal to a wider audience.









Audit Bureau of Circulations [Online] http://www.abc.org.uk/


Other website sources directly referenced in the body of the report




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